A company (in California) charged us upfront fees to prepare documents and apply for loan modification. Is it legal for them to charge upfront fees? Is it legal to charge upfront fees for document preparation alone?
After the passage of Senate Bill 94 in 2009, the law in California is that it is illegal for any person, including attorneys, real estate brokers, corporations, partnerships, or any licensed or unlicensed person to charge or collect any advance, up-front, or retainer fee, or any type of pre-payment compensation, for loan modification work or services.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.
Real Estate Attorney
I agree with Attorney Chen. I have seen recently very crafty contracts for loan modification services that attempt to circumvent SB 94, by labeling the services as "document preparation". At the end of it all, it is still loan mod services - you know the old saying: If it looks like a duck . . .
Richard A. Rodgers, Esq.
200 N. Westlake Blvd. Ste 201
Westlake Village, CA 91362
As stated in the AVVO.COM Terms and Conditions of Use, this answer is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship or privilige is created by this response.